I’ve mentioned before that I split a full share of our CSA with friends. Most of the time, it works out great – it’s a better variety of vegetables and costs less per person for more produce, and in the spring when we’re overwhelmed with leafy greens, it’s a relief to hand over half of all that kale. The downside, however, is that sometimes you’re left with not-quite-enough of something to do anything. Case in point: rhubarb. We received a bunch of rhubarb in our box a month or so ago, and half went off to our friends. I was left with 5 stalks of rhubarb, which wasn’t enough for any of the standard rhubarb recipes – strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb bars, etc. Sure, I could have downsized the recipe, but I’m not a strawberry fan so strawberry rhubarb pie doesn’t excite me, and a lot of rhubarb bars contain cream cheese (I feel very, VERY strongly that cream cheese is a savory only item and belongs on bagels and not in desserts). So what else to do with the rhubarb? Rhubarb-infused simple syrup. I like to bake, I like to eat baked goods, but I truly love a good drink.
I’m a bourbon and whiskey girl, but summer calls for gin (or tequila… or rum if you’re on a tropical island and there are tiny umbrellas involved…). I used my rhubarb-infused simple syrup in a Rhubarb Collins. Pair the rhubarb solids from the simple syrup-making process with some cheese and crackers and a nice city roof deck, and you have the perfect summer happy hour. We enjoyed just this combination with my parents when they visited earlier this summer, and it was truly delightful.
The rhubarb-infused simple syrup is delicious, and the things you can do with it are endless – drizzle it over ice cream, stir a little into your morning oatmeal or yogurt, add a dash or two to lemonade, use it as as your liquid for a poke cake – but really, why would you want to do anything other than make yourself a drink? Happy Friday, friends – enjoy your weekend, perhaps with a rhubarb beverage.
Rhubarb-Infused Simple Syrup:
- 5-6 stalks rhubarb, chopped
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft, about 20 minutes.
- Strain the rhubarb mixture through a fine mesh strainer, collecting the liquid. Press the solids with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup – you will be able to squeeze out quite a bit more.
- Pour the syrup into an airtight bottle and store in the fridge for several weeks. The solids will last for a week or two, refrigerated, and are delicious on crackers or toast.
- To make a Rhubarb Collins, combine 45 ml gin (3 parts), 30 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 parts), and 15 ml rhubarb simple syrup (1 part) in a tall glass with ice. Top with soda water and enjoy!